Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plan Ahead

I once heard someone say, "Those that fail to plan, plan to fail." This is so true, especially in the music business. Our business is based on product, promotion and results. To have a successful career you have to have a plan. I'm not even talking about the "I want to be a star"plan. I'm talking about the practical side of what you need to achieve success. For most independent musicians the live show is still the best way to  build a fan base and sell product, but how do you do this? The first thing you have to do is make a plan. Step 1: You have to record a CD or have something to sell. This is a business and without product, you are not in business. To be booked on festivals, concert tours or T.V. shows you have to have a CD. So you have to record a great CD that is reflective of who you are on stage. The key is being able to make a record that is an extension of who you are live so that when people see your live show and they buy your CD there is consistency between the two. Step 2: Once you have your CD, you have to do hundreds of mail outs. The mail out will include your CD and press kit. I know that today we have EPK's but it's still good to send a hard copy press kit along with the CD just in case the promoter is a bit technically challenged. You should find a club and festival guide that will show you dates and times for all events. Most festival people book a year in advance and they usually start booking acts in late summer to early fall but by December, most festivals are done with there booking for the following year. Remember this is all about planning ahead. The more mail outs you do the better. It's a numbers game. If you send out five hundred and you get thirty to respond you are doing great but you have to keep sending them out. It would also be a good idea to hire a publicist or some one that can get your CD reviewed in magazines and online music sites as well. Every bit of promotion helps when it comes to getting booked. The bottom line is ticket sales. The festival promoter has to book acts that he or she knows will fill the seats so if you are promoting yourself and you have great reviews in several magazines and you have a strong Internet presence, then they are more apt to book you. They will feel that people know you or at least there is some level of buzz being created. You have to always look at least a year out if you want to stay busy and make money. The same goes for music education and applying for grants. The work you do now will be for the next season because there is so much paper work that has to be filed and signed off on. The key to success in this business or any other in to plan ahead. It is already September so go and get your mail outs going! Enjoy the journey.

The Truth
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